Day 5: Beijing -> Xi’an

The grass is smiling at you.

Before leaving for Xi’an we stopped by the Olympic Park to gaze in wonder at the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.  And to gander at the 7-star Pangu hotel, which has this amazing fluid, waving tower that looks to me, appropriately, like an Olympic torch.  Our dreams/whim of going into either Olympic venue were dashed by the mind-boggling number of people crowding the lines to get it.  We got over that desire pretty quickly.

As some sort of cosmic consolation, I had a satisfying Phenomeblonde moment with a photo-shoot stranger.  It was so quick that we didn’t manage to get a photo of it for ourselves, but I took a picture of the girl’s back as she walked away.  However, I’m not going to post it here because it’s pretty boring and, well, kind of creepy.

In the afternoon we went to the amazingly hectic Beijing West train station.  It is so much cooler, larger, and more impressive than any airport in the US, and its one of three main train stations in Beijing.  Unbelievable.

We had to complete some steps to finally get on this train.

  • In order to purchase train tickets we had to join a tour (more on that in Day 6)
  • In order to retrieve the tickets we had to meet someone at the station at some restaurant with an English name that I don’t remember.  (Maybe Noodle King?)
  • In order to find the person we had to find the correct restaurant, because there were several Noodle Kings in the station.
  • In order to find the person once in the correct restaurant, Sam had to call him.
  • In order to call him, Sam had to borrow someone else’s phone because hers didn’t have minutes yet.

So Sam was walking around the food court trying to find this person.  This left Kristy and I alone at a table, conspicuous not only in our whiteness, but also in the one hundred and twenty pounds of luggage spread between six backpacks.  It’s these moments where you either have to laugh at yourself or go crazy with embarrassment.  So we choose to laugh.  And take pictures.


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